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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... Tea: Iced and otherwise..


KNOY: With the weather getting warmer, ice tea is making its annual comeback. As the story goes, ice tea was concocted on a scorching summer day at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. One vendor discovered that no one was buying his tea, so he dumped ice into it and voila: a new taste sensation. Legend also has it that tea as a hot beverage was serendipitously discovered by the Chinese emperor in 2737 BC. Some leaves blew off an evergreen shrub called Camellia Sinensis and fell into his pot of boiling water. Teas fall into 3 main categories: black, green, and oolong, but they all come from this same plant. The different flavorings are due to variations in how the leaves and buds are processed. Almost all the tea Americans drink is some type of black tea. Herbal infusions made from plants other than the Camellia are often called tea, but are known by tea afficionados as tisanes. With the increasing variety of specialty teas and recent reports of tea's anti-oxidant, anti-cancer properties, the drink's growing more popular. Today, tea is second only to water as the most consumed beverage in the world. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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